Ever since I made this photograph, I was thinking about writing a post about one of the biggest and probably most signficant temples of Srbian Orthodox church in the region – temple of Saint Sava in Vracar, Belgrade.
A week ago, while I was waiting for my second training to begin, I went to Vracar plateau and spend some time in front of temple. The day was beautiful, warm with sunshine and blue skies, people were walking around enjoing time with their kids, friends or alone.
Vracar plateau is the place where in 1595. Sinan Pasha burnt the remains of one of the most important persons in Serbian history – Saint Sava. Born in 1175. as Rastko Nemanjic, the youngest son of the Serbian ruler Stefan Nemanja, he decided to go to Mount Athos – Holy Mountain on the Chalkidiki peninsula, Greece. He became a monk with given name Sava. In 1198. his father joined him and they together restored an abandoned monastery, Hilandar, which soon became a center of Serbian monastic life. In 1208. Sava returned to Serbia and helped his brothers to establish a solid state. He eventually succeeded in freeing Serbian church from the jurisdiction of the Archbishopric of Ohrid. In 1219. he became the first Archbishop (Arhiepiskop, in Serbian) of the new Serbian church. Sava died in 1235. and initially was burried in St Forty Martyrs Church in Turnovo, Bulgaria. In 1237. his remains were moved to Serbia and burried in Mileseva monastery. In 1595. Ottoman Turks burnt his remains in Vracar plateau in Belgrade as a revenge for Serbs siding with the Habsburgs in the preceding border skirmishes.
The idea of making a church started in 1895. when Society for the Construction of the Cathedral of Saint Sava on Vracar was founded in Belgrade. At the beginning, a small church was built at the place but beginning of Balkan wars in 1912. and First World War in 1914. stopped all the activities. Works started again in 1935. when old church was removed to make place for the main temple. At the same time a small church of St Sava was built near the main site.
Second World War stopped works again. After war, Patriarch German tried to restart to works but needed to wait until 1984. – after 88 requests for continuation of the building. Today, the temple is 91 m (298.5 ft) long from east to west, and 81 m (265.7 ft) from north to south. It is 70m (229.65 ft) tall and there is a 12m (39.4 ft) golden cross on top of the main dome. Its domes contain 18 more gold plated crosses and bell towers contain 49 bells. There is a room for 10.000 people inside the temple and 800 members of choir. The basement contains a crypt, the treasury of Saint Sava, and the grave church of Saint Lazar the Hieromartyr. Even though the most of the works has been done by now, the inside of the temple are still waiting for donations to be finished.
More photos here.